The heart functions at a speed that is determined by the energy requirement of the individual. During periods of rest, the heart beats slowly and with a low intensity. During periods of exertion, the heart has to beat rapidly. This is because the various muscles of the body need more oxygen and nutrition when they are functioning at full speed. This increase is taken care of by the increased flow of blood through rapid pumping. Defects in the functioning of the heart are often not noticed when the heart is functioning slowly. Therefore, one needs to stimulate the heart in order to find out what is wrong with it. This is where a stress test procedure comes into the picture. A stress test procedure involves monitoring the functioning of the heart while the individual is under physical stress. Normally a cardiac stress test procedure is performed with a treadmill where the individual is made to jog or run in order to strain his or her heart.
A nuclear stress test procedure involves the injection of a nuclear tracer material which is used to check the flow of blood. Thillium is normally used in this test and it is also called as the thallium stress test procedure. Scans of the chest will reveal the flow of blood which is highlighted using the nuclear material. Any heart stress test procedure is conducted with emergency equipment at the ready. The patient will have to be fasting for a few hours so that the stomach does not react badly to the presence of food in it during exercise. The speed of the treadmill will be managed by the doctor to further stress the body. At this stage, patients must report any pain or discomfort that is felt. A stress test procedure usually lasts for a few minutes following which the patient will be made to lie down for further medical tests. A rest period is often necessary immediately after a stress test procedure. If there are no abnormalities found, the patient will be allowed to return home immediately. It is common for people with valve defects or specific defects in the heart to be diagnosed using this type of procedure. Stress tests are also conducted on seemingly healthy people as a way of figuring out if they have a serious health problem before the problem crops up in the first place. This type of test is a common test used in a standard medical evaluation as well that should be conducted every few years.More articles from the Stress Tests Category